Pretending to Orgasm: Men Fake Too

Intimate lovers embrace

A few years ago, I attended a conference at which University of Kansas professor Dr. Charlene Muehlenhard presented data regarding men who fake (or as she put it, “pretend”) to have an orgasm during various types of sex with a partner. Often women are characterized as the gender that pretends to orgasm when, in fact, men may pretend to orgasm, too.

In this particular study (published in a recent issue of the Journal of Sex Research), Dr. Muehlenhard and her team found that of the 180 men and 101 women (all college students) they surveyed, about 1 in 2 women had pretended orgasm as had 1 in 4  men. Given how many men I’ve heard from who have faked orgasm, I wasn’t that surprised when I first heard these results – but I am glad that the information is getting out there.

Though we often talk about orgasm as being difficult for many women to experience, it is sometimes difficult for men to experience as well. Though only a small proportion of men experience significantly delayed or inhibited orgasm (that can take 45+ minutes to experience, if at all), a larger number of men experience occasional difficulties with orgasm. Some men find it difficult to orgasm when they wear certain types of condoms or if a condom doesn’t fit them well. Other times, men find it difficult to orgasm if they’re not all that aroused by their partner, such as if they had sex just because the person was available (and not because they truly wanted to be with that person). Similarly, medications such as some anti-depressants can get in the way of sexual response, including orgasm.

For a whole host of reasons, men – like women – may find it difficult to come. And yet men (again, like women) may pretend to orgasm so as not to disappoint their partner, to save face, to give their partner an ego boost, or to end sex quickly. Personally, I’m not a big fan of faking orgasm even though I understand why some people do so. I tend to favor more open communication about sex in which people feel as though they have the space to say that they’re tired and just want to go to sleep or something isn’t quite working for them tonight, as much as they like the person. What do you think about pretending to orgasm? Ever done it? Wish you hadn’t? Think it’s fine?

Related MSP Posts:
- How to Orgasm During Sex: Tilt Your Hips!
- The Coital Alignment Technique
- How can I get my libido back? Should I fake it?

[Journal of Sex Research]

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • Rob

    Actually, I tend to have issues climaxing easily, even without a condom. I find it is better to be up front with this, as you said. I have never faked a climax, but I have certainly gone an hour into sex without one and my partner did not have a problem with this once she realized it was not her causing this.

  • Rob

    Actually, I tend to have issues climaxing easily, even without a condom. I find it is better to be up front with this, as you said. I have never faked a climax, but I have certainly gone an hour into sex without one and my partner did not have a problem with this once she realized it was not her causing this.

  • H

    I used to fake it all the time. I liked having sex, but I just wasn’t having orgasms and didn’t want to talk about it. Then I met a guy who I really care about and one day it just happened. Since then I don’t fake it anymore. If something isn’t working we talk about it and he understands (even if he doesn’t necessarily like) that I’m not always going to have an orgasm when we have sex.

  • H

    I used to fake it all the time. I liked having sex, but I just wasn’t having orgasms and didn’t want to talk about it. Then I met a guy who I really care about and one day it just happened. Since then I don’t fake it anymore. If something isn’t working we talk about it and he understands (even if he doesn’t necessarily like) that I’m not always going to have an orgasm when we have sex.

  • Debby

    @Rob How nice that you’re able to talk about that with partners! Was it difficult to bring up at first? Or how did it become more comfortable for you? I’m sure man men in your same situation would love a few pointers.

    @H Amazing what the right situation/partner can do – as well as coming to a point where you just feel more comfortable/confident with your sexuality. What do you think the big turning point was for you?

  • Debby

    @Rob How nice that you’re able to talk about that with partners! Was it difficult to bring up at first? Or how did it become more comfortable for you? I’m sure man men in your same situation would love a few pointers.

    @H Amazing what the right situation/partner can do – as well as coming to a point where you just feel more comfortable/confident with your sexuality. What do you think the big turning point was for you?

  • H

    I think that a lot of it had to do with becoming more comfortable with my sexuality and also having a partner that didn’t want to just jump right into intercourse. I remember the first time I had an orgasm with him we were going really slow and I tilted my hips. Magic!

    But another part of it was that I know enough about myself to realize that faking orgasms leads to resentment on my part, and that leads to no sex and a major rift in my relationships, and then the breakup. I could really see a future with my guy and I didn’t want that to happen to us.

  • H

    I think that a lot of it had to do with becoming more comfortable with my sexuality and also having a partner that didn’t want to just jump right into intercourse. I remember the first time I had an orgasm with him we were going really slow and I tilted my hips. Magic!

    But another part of it was that I know enough about myself to realize that faking orgasms leads to resentment on my part, and that leads to no sex and a major rift in my relationships, and then the breakup. I could really see a future with my guy and I didn’t want that to happen to us.

  • http://www.singlewomantalk.com/ Becky

    Hi,

    I love your site-I just found it through Dan Savage’s link on his blog. I liked this post about men faking orgasms and in fact wrote on that topic recently, but didn’t have all the stats. Anyway, good luck.

  • http://www.singlewomantalk.com Becky

    Hi,

    I love your site-I just found it through Dan Savage’s link on his blog. I liked this post about men faking orgasms and in fact wrote on that topic recently, but didn’t have all the stats. Anyway, good luck.

  • Chris

    I’ve faked an orgasm a few times. Either the difficulty would be a condom factor or if I tried to hold off for her orgasm and, in the process, made it only more difficult for me to have one. Another contributing factor may even be masturbation and breaking from that to allow someone else to help me come to an orgasm instead of only letting myself do it.

    With my current girlfriend, I’ve been trying different condoms while trying to communicate more on how I like certain things (oral sex, handjobs, etc.). It’s really interesting when you actually have to think about how you like something as opposed to just breaking it down as “I like how she does it” or “I don’t like how she likes it.”

  • Chris

    I’ve faked an orgasm a few times. Either the difficulty would be a condom factor or if I tried to hold off for her orgasm and, in the process, made it only more difficult for me to have one. Another contributing factor may even be masturbation and breaking from that to allow someone else to help me come to an orgasm instead of only letting myself do it.

    With my current girlfriend, I’ve been trying different condoms while trying to communicate more on how I like certain things (oral sex, handjobs, etc.). It’s really interesting when you actually have to think about how you like something as opposed to just breaking it down as “I like how she does it” or “I don’t like how she likes it.”

  • Patty

    If you have to fake an orgasm for your partners satisfaction then maybe you shouldn't be with that person. I have never faked an orgasm and have no need to, if I cannot quite get there my husband understands and figures we'll just have to try again tomorrow!

  • Patty

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